Windows Media Center Netflix Restore

12/24 UPDATE: On December 8th, Microsoft released an update for Windows Media Center (MS15-134 KB 3108669) that changes how Media Center opens URLs. With this update installed, all URLS open in Internet Explorer- outside of Media Center. It is possible that this update is breaking the Netflix addin- even with my fix deployed. If you wish to continue using the native Netflix addin you may need to remove this update from your system. Otherwise, please checkout my Netflix replacement app currently in BETA.

2/2/2016 UPDATE: The fix below no longer seems to work; While it will restore the native Netflix app – Netflix has updated the Silverlight player and it is no longer compatible with Windows Media Center remote controls. Please check my replacement app above for future Netflix support.

Greetings Fellow Streamers! As many of you are aware Microsoft and Netflix have decided to discontinue support for the Netflix addin for Windows Media Center. This unfortunately meant the removal of the application from all existing installations of Windows Media Center. As I would like to continue to have the seamless streaming experience with Netflix and Media Center I began looking at my options. While my long term goal is to replace the Netflix app with something of my own design, I have put together a ‘fix’ that will restore the native Netflix addin to a Windows Media Center installation. The folks over at The Green Button have come to the same idea for the fix – I just went a step further – isolating the single file needed and packaging it into an easy-to-use installer. The installer will backup the modified file for easy removal if desired.

The new Netflix Fix Utility can be downloaded here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8BoYZ4_2RhYWnBYNFFpVUhZdE0

If the Fix Utility above could not help you then you can try the full Netflix Restore App: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8BoYZ4_2RhYR1I2bFEtLXZadEE

Note: I have only tested this with Windows 7 – so if you have problems with Win 8.x let me know.

Amazon Instant Video for Windows Media Center

UPDATE: The AmazonMCEAddin has been released! Click here for details.

Hi Everyone. Going off topic for this post to talk about another piece of Microsoft technology that is near and dear to my heart: Windows Media Center. I’ve been running MCE for nearly 3 years now – it runs all of my in-house media and TVs. I absolutely love it. What I don’t love is the fact that Microsoft has all but abandoned the product which has stymied the development of new features – like streaming of content. Yes it has Netflix – which I do use – but other providers don’t seem willing to invest the time. Independent developers like me have mostly picked up the slack with adding new features to Media Center – but most of the time the integration is subpar or because they are integrating 3rd party content it often breaks when the vendor changes something.

I was looking for new Add-ins for Media Center for streaming content and came across this blog: http://garethbarr.com/amazonmceaddin/. Gareth wrote a really fantastic addin that brought Amazon Instant Video streaming to Media Center. The screenshots and the reviews looked great so I downloaded it – only to be disappointed when it didn’t work. Further reading revealed that Amazon changed something and broke the functionality (not surprising) but the developer was having trouble finding the time to debug it. He posted the source to Bitbucket and some work was done – but the project has been stalled for about 6 months. I really wanted to see this work so I downloaded the source and began debugging it. It took a few days but I got it working and updated Gareth on my progress. To my surprise, he asked me if I would like to take over ownership of the project as he is otherwise engaged. As I am very interested in all things MCE I gladly accepted.

So that brings us to today. I will be releasing an updated version of the Amazon Instant Video Addin for Windows Media Center in the next few days on the blog. This version fixes the login/sessionstate issues and restores the Flash playback functionality. It also has branding and minor fit/finish improvements. I’ll setup a page (http://sharepointsnapple.com/amazonmceaddin/) where interested folks can follow and post about their experiences with the addin. I have a few initial goals: Complete the UI and features as they existed in the Gareth’s 1.0.x.x version; Improve the UI fit and finish; Cleanup and reorganize the source; and add the Silverlight player.

The 1.x version of the addin will remain free. The source will not be immediately available as I need to thoroughly understand and debug /reorganize the solution. Donations to this effort would be appreciated if you find the solution useful.

Some screenshots of version 1.1:


Above: The icon in the MCE Start Menu


Above: The Movies Top Menu


Above: The Popular Movies grid


Above: The Movie details and the lobby


Above: The movie playing